Explore our Global Sustainable Development taught Master's degree.
Our innovative MASc in Global Sustainable Development is a unique opportunity to join a community of transdisciplinary experts and practitioners with a passion for research and teaching. On this flexible course you will combine academic learning with practical action and applied thinking to tackle problems of global sustainable development.
In Global Sustainable Development (GSD) we take a critical approach to the dominant discourse of sustainable development. We are committed to understanding as well as challenging existing practice, and want you to join us, as we seek innovative, transformative responses to complex global challenges. Based in the School for Cross-faculty StudiesLink opens in a new window, our academic home is a natural place for future transdisciplinary leaders to flourish.
On this course you will work with Warwick’s GSD DepartmentLink opens in a new window, the Institute for Global Sustainable Development (IGSD)Link opens in a new window, and partner departments across the University. Our staff are at the forefront of their fields and share your passion for global sustainable development.
Core modules will support your development as an intellectual leader dedicated to bringing about positive change. They will help to deepen your understanding of the core global challenges we face, and develop your critical and reflective approach, as well as your technical and methodological skills. Your learning will be rooted in critical intellectual enquiry and philosophical understanding, which will support your personal development as a leader of thought and action. In addition, by having a broad range of optional modules and flexible capstone project options, you can tailor the course to your own areas of interest.
In Term Three and the summer, you will have an exciting opportunity to ‘learn by doing’ as you undertake a transdisciplinary capstone project. We will offer you a choice of research, practice, and work-based experiences. Your chosen project will enable you to develop a skillset and expertise most suited to your future career goals.
By the end of this course, you will be equipped to play an authentic, ethically-grounded and reflective role in global citizenship. You will also have a defined understanding of what is necessary to act as a leader of positive change. The route you choose upon graduation will be defined by your own interests and aspirations. Your learning from the course will equip you with what you need for a career in applied research, in policy, business, or in third sector activity.
Who is this programme for?
This programme is ideal for you if:
- You have prior experience of studying GSD
- You are new to this field of study with a first degree and a strong interest in GSD
- You have work and life experience relating to GSD
Skills from this degree
You will learn to:
- Think systemically, recognising connections and interactions between factors, and understand that actions often have many consequences
- Identify and analyse the risk that system complexity can lead to unexpected and novel outcomes, and contribute to the proactive management of this
- Describe complex issues in clear terms and communicate about them effectively and succinctly, both verbally and in writing
- Work naturally and consciously, as part of a community of practice, by learning from others in a culture of respect, mutual understanding and empathy, and managing disagreement and conflict through socially non-violent means, even in the context of formal power hierarchies
- Support and foster intellectual leadership by challenging assumptions, critically analysing information and negotiating alternatives to current practices
- Create new and personal knowledge in GSD both through research and self-managed learning
General entry requirements
2:1 undergraduate degree (or equivalent). Find out more about our requirements.Link opens in a new window
We encourage applications from students with diverse backgrounds, from the sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. We particularly welcome students with experience of interdisciplinary study.
In certain circumstances, we will consider applicants with a lower second-class honours degree, or a normal degree (and their equivalents). This is particularly the case for applicants with relevant professional experience which can be explicitly and directly related to our curriculum.
English language requirements
You can find out more about our English language requirementsLink opens in a new window. This course requires the following:
- Band B
- IELTS overall score of 7.0, minimum component scores of two at 6.0/6.5 and the rest at 7.0 or above.
We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications.
For more information, please visit the international entry requirements pageLink opens in a new window.
All applicants need to provide a Statement of Interest. This should be 1-2 pages long in content, with an extra page for cited references.
Your statement should include:
- Your motivation for applying for this specific degree at Warwick
- How your educational background has prepared you for rigorous postgraduate study in this subject area
- How obtaining this degree will fit into your future plans
- What you hope to get from studying this course and your expectations
- You may also wish to include details about your personal/work/voluntary experiences if they relate to the degree programme
- Explicit discussion of knowledge, concepts, theories, frameworks, and general literature, with which you are familiar and believe can be applied to the subject area, referenced using appropriate tools of scholarship
You should provide a list of any cited references, appropriately formatted. These should be included on an extra page, following your statement.
Leading Transformation in the Anthropocene
For the first time in history, humans are the primary agents of change on a planetary scale. This module will equip you to be an intellectual leader within this new and defining context.
Throughout this module you will explore often unexamined questions of intellectual leadership in change. You will consider how they might rigorously and reflectively conceive of socially positive change and transition from first principles of philosophical reflection. You will consider perspectives from historical interpretation, reflections on identity and power, as well as practical methods of change.
Creating Knowledge for Change: Foundations of Transdisciplinary Research
Transdisciplinarity is a way of creating new knowledge about the world we live in and how we bring about change. This approach sees beyond siloed disciplines and integrates academic and non-academic perspectives.
In this module you will consolidate previous methods training through active consideration of transdisciplinary methodologies. We will encourage you to think about the underlying differences in the way different groups of people see the world, and therefore build knowledge and act in different ways. This module particularly prepares you for your capstone summer project.
Global Challenges and Transdisciplinary Responses
This module will deepen your understanding of the core global challenges facing our world today. You will develop your transdisciplinary problem-based, response-focused process skills and subject knowledge. You will work through units on selected topics based on research expertise in the GSD department, and develop a range of communication and advocacy skills.
You will be required to take at least two of the following optional core modules:
Qualitative Approaches to Sustainable Development
Through the use of case studies and real-world examples, you will explore and evaluate the scope, value and limitations of different and, in some cases, combined qualitative approaches for knowledge generation.
You will gain practical skills in qualitative research and further develop your ability to critically engage with qualitative research methods, while understanding the challenges that both researchers and participants can face with data collection and analysis.
Quantitative Approaches to Sustainable Development
With the use of case studies, real-world examples and data, you will learn to conduct advanced quantitative research, and to evaluate the scope, value and limitations of different quantitative approaches for knowledge generation.
Hands-on practice in computer-lab seminars will allow you to develop skills in statistical analysis relevant to trans- and cross-disciplinary research. You will critically engage with applied quantitative research, and gain a comprehensive understanding of the main issues arising from the use of quantitative methods.
Both of these methods modules will allow you to make informed and evidence-based decisions when designing research interventions that respond in nuanced, robust and imaginative ways to complex and systemic problems.
Policy, Governance and Sustainable Development
This module is practically-focused, allowing you to understand how sustainable development policy is created. You will be encouraged to reflect on the complexities of policy creation, and to consider how you might engage in the design of policy for the future.
You will also select optional modules offered by GSD and partner departments.
Term Three and summer
You will select one of our transdisciplinary capstone projects:
Using an agreed work placement which you will source with an outside organisation, you will think through issues of personal and institutional change-making and transition. Our department's Employability and Placement Manager will be available to support you throughout this project and offer advice in your search and application to organisations as well as during your placement.
Engage across campus or beyond with Warwick’s pioneering sustainability agenda or other organisations’ sustainability aspirations and plans. Working closely with sustainability practitioners, you will act as a sustainability consultant within a defined organisational area, appraising, assessing and formulating proposals, which would lead sustainable transformations.
You will have the opportunity to create a dissertation, policy briefing, article or creative output. You will be guided by specialist academic supervision.
The number of optional modules you take will vary depending on how many of the above optional core modules you select. Your optional modules will be offered by the GSD Department and partner departments and you will have the opportunity to specialise in thematic learning. Optional modules could include:
- Care-ful Sustainability: Place, Culture and Value
- Critical Perspectives on Business and Global Sustainable Development
- Popular Movements and Sustainable Change
- Sustainable Urbanisation: from Risk to Resilience
- Health and well-being across the life course
- Climate Change and Development
- Socially Engaged Performance: Interventions and Provocations
- Resource Fictions: Studies in World Literature
- World Literature in the Anthropocene
- Urban Resilience, Disaster and Data
- Habitability in the Universe
- Thinking Water
- Education for Sustainable Development
- Design Thinking for Social Impact
- Public Engagement
Please note, optional modules are subject to availability and offerings may change each year to keep your learning experience current and up-to-date. You will also need to discuss your optional module choices with your personal tutor and receive approval from the Director of Graduate Studies in GSD. Other optional modules may be available across other departments.
We offer a transdisciplinary approach to learning about problems of global sustainable development. The global challenges we face today do not fit neatly within disciplinary boundaries, instead, requiring integration of different disciplinary perspectives. This is reflected in our range of expert tutors, drawn from a variety of disciplines across the humanities, social sciences and scientific fields.
Transdisciplinarity also requires engagement with non-academic partners, breaking down boundaries between academic thinking and practical application. The capstone projects on this course bring this to the forefront. For instance, you may choose to work with an employer, unifying knowledge from academic and non-academic viewpoints.
We pride ourselves on a pedagogy of problem-based, response-focused learning. You will be taught key course content via interactive lectures and task-guided reading. However, most of your learning will be through the active, authentic and applied student-self-construction of knowledge. This pedagogy allows you to develop applied process skills and academic subject content at the same time.
The capstone modules offer structured and supported opportunities to ‘learn by doing’. This is learning not just by means of authentic tasks that mirror the ‘real-world’, but by offering learning as being a fundamental part of daily, collectively-lived reality.
The Institute for Global Sustainable Development
On this course you will benefit from expertise in Warwick’s Institute for Global Sustainable Development (IGSD). IGSD provides a focal point for Warwick’s sustainable development research, contributing towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, but still challenging of them. Researchers in IGSD will contribute to our taught modules via guest lectures. They will also, where appropriate, be available to supervise the capstone projects in Term Three and the summer.
Class sizes will vary with around 15-25 students in core modules and fewer in optional core GSD modules. Class sizes for optional modules in GSD will be small, typically with around 10 students. In other departments, optional module class sizes will vary according to the size and nature of their postgraduate programmes.
Typical contact hours
In the first term you will have 8-10 hours of contact time each week which will comprise of lectures, seminars and practical sessions.
In Term Two your contact hours will vary depending on which options are selected. Each of the 10 CAT GSD optional core modules offer two contact hours per week in the form of seminars and/or practical sessions.
For the capstone modules you will benefit from one-to-one supervisions with academic specialists to support you with your project.
The core modules on this course will be assessed in a variety of ways including essays, presentations, and research project plans. The assessments are designed to help you develop the skills for research, analysis, and communicating your work with others. For example, you will have opportunities to write professionally formatted policy briefings that’d be used to engage with policy-makers or the corporate world.
All assessments in modules offered by the School for Cross-faculty Studies link to practical applications. In these modules, you will complete formative and summative assessments. Formative assessments will include discussion circles mirroring professional discussions in the working world. In your summative assessments, you will have the opportunity to show subject expertise, while continuing to develop process skills.
Your personalised timetable will be complete when you are registered for all modules, compulsory and optional, and you have been allocated to your lectures, seminars and other small group classes. Your compulsory modules will be registered for you and you will be able to choose your optional modules when you join us.
Studying an MASc in Global Sustainable Development will open careers in the public, private and third sectors in a range of areas and functions including the following:
- Governance – shaping policy and processes at local, national and international level
- Research – academic via Master's by Research or PhD research or for an organisation in the public, private or third sector including think-tanks
- Teaching at all levels: primary, secondary, Higher Education and tertiary
- Project management in any industry – this could be a community or commercial project
- Communications and media relations
- Consultancy – for example in corporate social responsibility
- Advocacy – for example on international relations, humanitarian work for organisations such as the United Nations
- Data and intelligence analyst – for example security, geo- political risk
Professional development support
We have a dedicated Employability and Placement Manager in our department who can offer you careers guidance and provide information about suitable capstone workplace project placements. Additionally, they will be able to provide you with ongoing support throughout the placement process, including advice on applications, interviews, as well as links to employers.
Our course has been designed to ensure you develop the skills, attributes and knowledge that are sought by employers.
- Critical thinking
- Project management
- Data analysis
- Commercial acumen
- Creative problem solving
- Communication (verbal and written)
- Independent and collaborative working
Global Sustainable Development
Transdisciplinarity is at the heart of our teaching, learning, and research in the Global Sustainable Development (GSD) Department. Global challenges spill over disciplinary boundaries, and our unique academic home reflects this. Based in the School for Cross-faculty Studies, our staff and students have genuine opportunities to transcend disciplinary boundaries, creating new knowledge about the world.
On our innovative courses, you'll contest longstanding inequalities and actively promote change. From your first day, we'll encourage you to make positive interventions with a beneficial impact. Beyond your studies, you’ll have a myriad of opportunities to apply your learnings to the world around you.
By joining our department you’ll be inspired, and challenged, by our passionate tutors. You’ll work together with our team to find responses to pressing problems of global sustainable development.
Our Postgraduate courses
Tuition fees are payable for each year of your course at the start of the academic year, or at the start of your course, if later. Academic fees cover the cost of tuition, examinations and registration and some student amenities.
Fee Status Guidance
The University carries out an initial fee status assessment based on information provided in the application and according to the guidance published by UKCISA. Students are classified as either Home or Overseas Fee status and this can determine the tuition fee and eligibility of certain scholarships and financial support.
If you receive an offer, your fee status will be stated with the tuition fee information. If you believe your fee status has been incorrectly classified you can complete a fee status assessment questionnaire (follow the instructions in your offer) and provide the required documentation for this to be reassessed.
The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) provides guidance to UK universities on fees status criteria, you can find the latest guidance on the impact of Brexit on fees and student support on the UKCISA website.
Additional course costs
Please contact your academic department for information about department specific costs, which should be considered in conjunction with the more general costs below, such as:
- Core text books
- Printer credits
- Dissertation binding
- Robe hire for your degree ceremony
Scholarships and bursaries
The School for Cross-faculty Studies is pleased to offer bursaries for Home and EU/Overseas students commencing the MASc in Global Sustainable Development.
Find out how to apply to us, ask your questions, and find out more.
How to apply
The application process for courses that start in September and October 2024 will open on 2 October 2023.
Applications will close on 2 August 2024 for students who require a visa to study in the UK, to allow time to receive a CAS and complete the visa application process.
Throughout the year we attend exhibitions and fairs online and in-person around the UK. These events give you the chance to explore our range of postgraduate courses, and find out what it’s like studying at Warwick. You’ll also be able to speak directly with our student recruitment team, who will be able to help answer your questions.
Join a live chat with our staff and students, who are here to answer your questions and help you learn more about postgraduate life at Warwick. You can join our general drop-in sessions or talk to your prospective department and student services.
A Warwick talk and tour lasts around two hours and consists of an overview presentation from one of our Recruitment Officers covering the key features, facilities and activities that make Warwick a leading institution. The talk is followed by a campus tour which is the perfect way to view campus, with a current student guiding you around the key areas on campus.